New Gaming System - Low Power/Noise. Alternate part suggestions please.


Senior member
Jul 3, 2002
I am finally looking to upgrade from an AGP system with an Athlon64 3200+ processor. It runs Dragon Age Origins on the lowest settings, and I find the experience acceptable, but there appears to be some (likely age related) issue with the power supply, memory, or motherboard: the system has a cold-boot issue and is prone to corrupting file systems on HDs (including a newly purchased HD). I'm not willing to throw any money at troubleshooting my old components. It is time for a new build.

First, answers to the sticky questions:
1. Usage: Infrequent PC Gaming (at 1280x1024). Messing around with Windows 7 and perhaps some hobby level programming.

2. Budget: A range of $900-$1,100. Power efficiency, low power usage, low heat, and low noise are all worth an extra buck or two to me. A couple more FPS are not.

3. Country: USA

4. Brand Preference: None

5. Current Parts: WD 1TB "Black" drive. Monitor/Mouse/Keyboard

6. Due Diligence: Yes. (Edit: Adding reference links in a 'bump' thread shortly)

7. OC Plans: No. Stock settings unless troubleshooting is required.

8. Gaming resolution: 1280x1024

9. Build/purchase time: Mid January.

Current proposed parts (edits - +links and 12/16/09 prices, some parts changed):
Case: ($79.99) Antec Mini P180 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (Noise/Airflow/Size - room for CPU cooler)
Mobo: ($104.99) GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
CPU: ($199.99) Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor (low power use, for a modern CPU).
CPU Cooler: ($34.48) ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm
($54.99) Noctua NH-U9B SE 2 92mm SSO CPU Cooler (edit: thanks ChaiBabbaChai)
RAM: ($104.99) G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 CAS 7.
GPU: ($114.99) XFX Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0
PSU: ($119.99) ENERMAX PRO82+ 525W ATX12V 80 PLUS BRONZE
OS: ($104.99) Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
DVD-RW: ($26.99) Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD
($30.99) SAMSUNG 24X DVD+R SATA 24x DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
SSD: (Waiting - not included in budget)

Total: $1034.26
Any feedback or suggestions are welcome. Thank you.
Last edited:


Senior member
Jul 3, 2002
I've cleaned up the original post and added links and prices.

Some links to my relevant research on my current parts:
AT Review: AMD HD 4770 Low Idle/Load Power
AT forum discussion of 4770 game performance / scaling.
AT Review: i5 750 Idle/Load Power
AT forum discussion of i5 for a long term builder
mini p180 acoustic & temperature data at SilentPC Review
Enermax acoustic and power efficiency data at SilentPC Review(different model, Modu82 625W, mainly different cables?)

Everything else tbh has been based on newegg reviews. I seem to be getting a vibe that the Gigabyte boards are popular choices (except for the socket issue for OC'ers on first gen models).

The only thing I can think of that would make me want to wait is the advancements that are happening in the power supply front with some models pushing their efficiency levels closer to the 90% ranges. I've also seen some comments about Enermax PSUs dying after short periods of use - so I could use some more perspectives on PSUs in particular.


Senior member
Jul 3, 2002
Thank you for the replies.

The SilentPC forums scared me off of the ENERMAX PSU (lots of owner complaints). Switched to a similar (newer model) Corsair PSU - a 7 year warranty is nice. Was also considering the Seasonic X650 Gold, but the price ($170) feels a little high for this build.

I had the Noctua CPU Cooler change updated the same day that ChaiBabbaChai suggested it, but noticed on Newegg today that the SE2 has appeared, which has two fans instead of one and already has the 1156 bracket included (instead of a $10 addon for the older version). No brainer change there.

I also changed from the CAS 9 G.Skill Eco to the CAS 7 version. I doubt I'll notice the difference, but it was a $10 price difference and the AT RAM reviews do seem to have a general appreciation for tighter timings (eg. the i7 memory scaling article).

Finally, I have changed the optical drive to a Samsung based on the SilentPC forums mentioning that the 170mm depth of the Samsung drives is short enough to not bump into the top fan on the mini p180. The drive is Samsung's newest release (compared to the older 22x models).

I might get the i5 at MicroCenter for $150, but the drive is a bit of a pain. Anyone know when that deal ends?